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Preparing for the Malaysia East Rally

April 27, 2016

We’ve been busy in Pangkor, Malaysia, getting the boat ready for the Malaysia East Rally.  Among the major projects was replacing the gearbox on our Yanmar engine which has been giving us problems for nearly 6 years.  The unit needed rebuilding and the parts were four months back ordered.  We located two new gearboxes in Europe and California and had the California unit air freighted to Malaysia.  It is a joy to shift into forward without cringing.

We hauled Persephone and had the bottom painted, the entire boat buffed and waxed, and some varnishing down below.  The boat yard is hot and dusty so we rented a three-bedroom apartment and a car and moved ashore for two weeks.  The air conditioning and pool were a delight and the car made available a vast array of new restaurants.  The apartment was adjacent to the forest and a large gang of monkeys would descent each evening looking for food.  We even saw a 5-foot-long monitor lizard ambling along.

As a heat wave approached we packed our bags and drove to Cameron Highlands for a few days with our friends Marijke and Hilbrand.  We enjoyed touring tea plantations, hiking, and relaxing in the coolness of the mountains while schools were being closed at lower elevations because of the heat.

On April 11 rally boats from further north arrived a Pangkor Marina and we met up with friends we had made on the Indonesia Rally last year.  The manager of the marina treated all the cruisers to a tour of Pangkor Island with a fabulous lunch on the beach.  We finished up our boat projects and joined the group as we headed to the south end of the Malaysian Peninsula and the official start of the Malaysia East Rally.

Along the way we stopped at the historical town of Melaka which was conquered by the Portuguese in 1511, then the Dutch followed by the British.  Its location mid-way on the Malaysian Peninsula and its natural river harbor made it an ideal trading hub for Europeans and Asians.  It is also where multi-cultural Nonya cuisine was created hundreds of years ago as people from all over Asia settled here.

We revisited Port Klang and Port Dickson from last year’s travels.  We had a long travel day to the small island of Pulau Pisang arriving in the dark 15 minutes before the largest electrical storm we’ve ever seen hit us accompanied by high winds.  We sat in the cockpit and enjoyed the spectacle, a little anxious of our 70-foot aluminum lightning rod in the middle of our boat.

On April 22 we arrived at the luxurious Puteri Harbour Marina across the channel from Singapore.  The marina was filled with rally boats and many of us had to anchor out.  One day we chartered a bus and 45 of us went to the Indonesian Consulate to get advanced visas to visit the Indonesian islands of Anambas and Natuna as we cross the South China Sea to Borneo.  Sazli, the rally organizer provided a technical briefing of what we can expect on the rally and the security measures that have been put in place to protect us from pirates out of the Philippines.  The four days were capped off with a gala dinner complete with entertainment.  The rally is officially kicked off!

Pangkor

Trip to Cameron Highlands

Melaka

Moving South

Puteri Harbour

From → Travel

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